Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, a Reverend, activist, and prominent leader of the African-American civil rights movement and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who became known for his advancement of civil rights by using civil disobedience. He was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05pm that evening. James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was arrested on June 8, 1968 in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Ray later made many attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury, but was unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
The King family and others believe that the assassination was carried out by a conspiracy involving the US government, as alleged by Loyd Jowers in 1993, and that James Earl Ray was a scapegoat. In a 1999 civil trial that did not name the US government as a defendant and sought $100 from Loyd Jowers[vague], with both the family and Jowers cooperating together and the only presenting parties, the jury ruled that Loyd Jowers and others, including unspecified governmental agencies, were all part of the conspiracy to kill King.
Loyd Jowers was the owner of a restaurant (Jim’s Grill) near the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. In December 1993, Jowers appeared on ABC’s Prime Time Live and related the details of an alleged conspiracy involving the Mafia and the U.S. government to kill King. According to Jowers, James Earl Ray was a scapegoat, and was not involved in the assassination. Jowers believed that Memphis police officer Lieutenant Earl Clark fired the fatal shot.